Friday, January 30, 2015

So Many Little Changes

I have not written for such a long time and it has been good for me to take a break from blogging. I am still working at my small part-time job and I am gradually getting used to working. It seems to have changed a lot of the little aspects of my life.

Clothing.. I need more of them. I had a jeans, sweater and t-shirt wardrobe. Now I need dress pants or active wear clothing. I need cooler dressier shirts that are good for moving in a warm building. I personally need shoes that give really good support.

Sleeping... I need to get up at 7 in the morning and I have to be well rested. I go to bed .. start thinking and then have trouble falling asleep. Lately I am back to using meditation at night to try and keep me level.

Remembering... I try so hard to remember names and other information. I think I am doing better but it is still not easy for me when the pressure is on.

Meals... I need to pack a lunch and eat in a lunch room and that still feels weird.

Co-workers... really new to me and it is fun to have co-workers to chat with who are doing similar jobs. In my last working life I had a boss and no one working with me or under me.

Swipe cards.. I have to swipe in and out at work to track my work time... that is new to me too. I live in fear of breaking or loosing the thing.

Housework.. Not one of my priorities at the moment, but we will catch up eventually.

Fitness... This has two sides to it. My endurance has shown a huge improvement. My legs and hips are building muscles. The flip side is my knee and shoulder joints are getting worse fast. Arthritis is winning and I am back to visiting my doctor.

Paychecks... Direct deposit is good. I set up an account for my earnings and the amount is going up slowly. I don't work a lot so progress is not spectacular.

I know that none of this stuff is too exciting or too important- just part of my days now.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sick Day

Sad Pumpkin
I already missed a day of work. I was supposed to work an extra shift on Halloween and I wound up at home vomiting instead. Holidays and parties are big deals for recreation programs with a lot of extra work so my not going will have been a problem to my co-workers. Besides-- I wanted to go! The staff and residents could dress in costumes, and we had decorations, cake and treats to give out. There was a pumpkin carving contest,  a musician performing, and a bake sale with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer's association and that all sounded very exciting to me. It is a larger event with the residents families and our community invited to share in the fun.

One of the issues with working in places with a larger group of people.. is that you get exposed to a whole lot of different infectious organisms. So many residents, staff, and visitors all in one place and in closer physical contact increase your risk of picking something nasty up.  There are several categories of how disease is spread. It can be via what you are eating or drinking, by touching contaminated surfaces, by touching someone or some animal who is infected or by breathing in air that is contaminated. All the different types of microorganisms have their own particular needs for spreading and what they need to multiply.

In fall we aggravate some of the issues by closing windows and turning on forced air heating systems that circulate air from one area to another. Even with good filters the risk of air born infections increases.  People let me yell here; BEING COLD does not actually cause colds despite the common belief. Colds are caused by viruses. Period. Now being cold makes you huddle together with other people who might be infected. Being very cold can be a stress on your system and make your immune system more stressed and therefore less able to fight away that virus. Being sick with something else, being exhausted, being malnourished or on certain medications can mess with your immune system big time.

Where things get really serious is that infections can be devastating to people who have compromised immune systems. It is a real danger to so many residents of nursing homes.  There is a huge amount of effort put into sanitation efforts and other methods of preventing the spread of infections but the fact is people sneeze and cough. Visitors might not even realize they are getting sick and could still be contagious.

What can you do? Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers.  Eat nutritious foods.  Get plenty of rest and basically try to live as healthy a life as possible.

And--- if  you are sick don't share your germs. Stay home and get better, even if it means missing the Halloween party.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to Work

Guess what?

 I got a JOB a couple weeks ago. It is a very little one but it is a real job --- they are paying for my knowledge and ability! 

I am working in a personal care home as a part-time Recreation Facilitator.  The job is as a replacement for a lady who is on maternity leave and is listed to continue until around August 2015, but it can end with two weeks notice if the new Mommy chooses to come back sooner.

This personal care home/ nursing home is part of a larger chain of personal care homes and assisted living facilities so when the time comes I can be applying for internally posted positions. There has been a lot of time spent in job orientation. I spent 2 days being trained at their regional orientation for all new employees and then a day getting trained at my new workplace. After that I have spent several days basically job shadowing the other recreation staff and learning how they do various activities in this facility. Now I am officially able to work independently but as part of the team. I do still need a lot of help and advice from my co-workers  in order to learn the best way to do the various tasks I need to carry out.

The facility is pretty large with around 170 residents. The recreation department is organized with a department coordinator, 4 full time recreation facilitators, 2 part time facilitators and a part time spiritual care facilitator (chaplain). This group also has a couple casual staff that can be called in and they have many helpful volunteers that share their time. There is also a resident cat that lives in and around the recreation office and does his best to keep us all entertained in exchange for some petting.

I am only scheduled to work 4 days in a two week period and I think that is a great way to start. It lets me build up my stamina slowly and get to know the residents and staff gradually. I know there will be a few extra shifts that I get to pick up, for example, this Friday I get to come in and help with the big Halloween party.

There are a lot of challenges for me in this job but so far I have been up to it.  I will admit I have been getting home and collapsing on the couch for the entire evening.  There is a lot of time spent going up and down in an elevator and I find that triggers a fair bit of nausea but the alternative of walking up and down countless stairs makes the elevator seem worthwhile. I am having an extra hard time remembering people’s names and room location but I will just keep working on it. I am using all the memory tricks I have learned in the past 6 years and they really do help.

I ran a really good program yesterday. It was a discussion group with 6 people.  I talked about pets a bit and then I read a short story from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul. We talked about the pets we had when we were younger and about the differences between growing up with animals when you live in the country or in the city. We also talked about unusually pets people sometime have. We started off a little hesitatingly since the ladies and gentlemen really don’t know me but pretty soon we were all smiling and laughing. When I ended the group I asked if they enjoyed our chat and a couple of them wanted to know if we could do this again next Sunday.
I knew then that I had done a good job.  

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